Chaos Attraction

The Christmas Chronicles

2018-12-13, 6:46 a.m.

I got home very late last night. Am zonked this morning. I was at a friend's house. I tried to talk her into watching A Christmas Prince or this movie and she refused. In uh, honor of that, I'm posting a review...

The Christmas Chronicles:

This is notable for featuring a Hot Santa, the likes of which we’ve only seen in He-Man, apparently.

This movie kinda starts out like something you would have seen in the 1980s. Typical kid movie: dad died this year, teenage Teddy has turned to car stealing. Kate, who is...I dunno, somewhere between 10-12-ish but still believes in Santa*, has become obsessed with Dad’s old video camera** and films Teddy stealing cars. While reviewing her parents’ old videos, she sees an arm sticking out briefly, making her think Santa came by and blackmailing Teddy to help her Santa-booby-trap the house.

* As an only child, this didn’t necessarily faze me but I hear from those with siblings that they find this information out a LOT earlier in life. Meanwhile, I think I pretended I hadn’t deduced it until around 12 when I had to admit it seemed a little weird NOT to admit it.

** Nobody has a phone or tries to film anything on their phone at any point during the movie, which made me think even more that this was an 80’s throwback.

Long story short, the kids end up sneaking into Santa’s very slick and aerodynamic sleigh, Kate gets cold and wants to ask Santa for a blanket, and she startles him SO much that he loses his magic shapechanging hat, his reindeer, his bag, and he crashes the sleight. Santa is polite enough, but says they’re both on the naughty list for life and might as well go home to sleep in now, and the last time Christmas was ruined was during the Dark Ages, stuff like that. Also, ruining Christmas is like, the worst thing a kid can do.*

* I can think of worse. Like oh, school shootings.

But what’s different here is that they cast Kurt Russell in this. And THIS Santa is presumably quite buff, or at least not fat, under that giant coat. He’s rather offended that people think he’s a fat slob, and will say so. He even dubs that “fake news.” Please don’t remind me of Trump in this movie. We’re trying to block that out now.

Anyway, Santa, despite the wind blowing dramatically in his hair, faceplants coming out of his sleigh because he’s missing his magic shapechanging hat. I don’t know about Santa, but I think I might notice I lost the hat if I had the wind in my hair. Since Santa is stuck being on foot, he heads to the nearest restaurant in Chicago dubbed “Nick’s Place,” in hopes of borrowing someone’s car.

The girl that plays Heather in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is in this movie and she wanted to be a fashion designer--so of course she’s ended up working in a restaurant. She’s sympathetic to his plight but Santa ends up walking around asking people for their cars and getting nowhere. He offers to trade someone an antique baseball card for his car, but the wife rips it up in front of them. So that went well. Also, one lady starts calling the cops. Santa also decides to tell the bartender to his face that he’s on the naughty list for robbery, car thievery* etc., and calls him out for recently stealing a car. Wendy the wannabe fashion designer slows up the bartender by throwing out ice for him to trip on. I appreciate her efforts but am terrified of her future employment after that. Not that we’ll ever see her again.

* Yes, there’s a theme here. Just you wait.

Teddy suggests that they just steal the stolen car (we’ll return it later, Santa says), which Santa has to agree to after Teddy points out how much breaking and entering he does every year (see Quote Corner). Santa grumbles that he goes to the gym every day and avoid sugar and carbs (then what about those cookies?) and everyone STILL thinks he’s fat. Also, he doesn’t like the stereotypical laugh either.

Cops come, a car chase ensues, and Santa ends up being arrested despite ID’ing the cops and what gifts they wanted. At one point he tells one cop, Dave, that what he really wants is his ex-wife Lisa back, and she’s interested. I am baffled as to why the woman left him and wants him back, but whatever, Santa. This still gets Santa thrown in jail, leaving Kate to go find the reindeer and Santa’s bag.

This movie does have fun with special effects, as when Kate climbs into the bag and it also seems to have some kind of portal to the North Pole and Santa’s office, where she has to explain everything to the elves once they tie her up with Christmas lights. She also sees the videos kids (including her) sent to Santa and the letters, and she discovers that Teddy wrote to Santa asking to see his dad again. I...can’t even for so many reasons here. The elves show Kate that the Pierce family is a bunch of true believers, except for Teddy. I don’t even know what to say to that revelation after the letter thing.

Meanwhile, Teddy somehow runs into a bunch of criminals when he has the bag (good luck telling them his sister’s in there). They all get coal, so one of them chucks the bag into a giant fire and Teddy has to pull it out. Then Kate and the elves bust on out and the elves break out their tiny hammers and do some tiny ass whuppin. They also, I am not kidding, nearly have an elf cut off Teddy’s genitals with a chain saw until Kate stops them. That elf is SO disappointed.

While all of this is going on, Santa throws a jailhouse rock party and sings an Elvis song, turning the hookers into backup singers and providing musical instruments to what I read somewhere is the E Street Band minus Springsteen. However, it rapidly becomes clear that maybe Santa didn’t have to undergo all of this, because an elf breaks in and throws him a (spare?) hat so he can now leave.

Anyway, after all those shenanigans, the Christmas spirit has gone down and there’s only an hour left, so Teddy flies the sleigh, Kate checks the list and throws out the gifts and Santa swoops in and out of all the houses. Kate somehow picks up Elvish during this. At the end, Santa drops them off before their mom gets home and gives Teddy his hat (how many spares does he have?) and levitates his own sleigh. At this point Teddy figures out that odds are, Santa didn’t really have to do ANY of this, but “Shhhh!” Santa says he hopes he never sees them again, but does give Kate a requisite “ho ho ho” on his way out.

After he leaves, Kate realizes that Santa has taken her video tape. Mom comes home and finds the house decorated and is happy about that. Kate gets a skateboard from Santa and Teddy gets a letter and a small box. Santa says he got the letter and well, can’t bring his dad back from the dead, so it’s the best he can do. Teddy gets an ornament that shows his dad’s face in it. I admit, I teared up a bit at that.

Back at the Pole, Santa adds Teddy back in as a believer and Mrs. Claus (guess who) comes in to ask him about the night. Wanna watch a movie? Nick has one they can watch...Kate’s tape.

Overall, this is a ridiculous hoot and worth seeing for 80’s era vibe, lulz, Santa breaking stereotypes and rocking out, etc.

Quote Corner:
* “How do you think I can turn into coal dust and leap from rooftop to rooftop?” “Pilates?” -Santa and Kate
* “You two are on the naughty list for life.” -Santa
* “Billboards add eighty pounds, Freddy.” -Santa
* “Don’t you break into like, a billion homes every year? Technically that’s illegal too.” “Good point.” -Teddy and Santa.
* “One man’s junk is Santa’s treasure.” -Santa, raiding the glove compartment.
* “I don’t do ho ho ho!” -Santa
* “What’s his relationship to you?” “Uh....he came down my chimney!” -Cop and Teddy
* “Does my butt really look that big to you?” “Yeah. Now sit down or I’ll cuff you to that desk.” -Santa and Dave the cop.
* “I just saw a lot of reindeer fly away. I am not crazy!” -Some random dude.
* “And not recycling. He’s compost.” -Bad guy saying to throw Teddy into the dumpsters out back.
* “I never have any fun.” -elf with the chainsaw, who should be more afraid of the naughty list in his job, eh?
* “You busted out of jail!” “First time for everything!” -I forget who and Santa
* “This whole night, any time you wanted--” “Shhhhh!” -Teddy and Santa
* “Nick, were you just a little bit naughty last night?” “In a nice way.” -Mrs. Santa and Santa.

”You know, I've played three very important, iconic roles in my life: Snake Plissken, Elvis Presley and Santa Claus.'" -Kurt Russell.

Apparently this one is a hit and Netflix is actually fine with that. Go figure.

Why we’re okay with terrible Christmas movies.
None of the Visual Effects Magic Behind Netflix's The Christmas Chronicles Came From the North Pole.

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